Sites to See in Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City is not only the capital of Utah but also a veritable cornucopia of attractions and sites for tourists who brave the over 4,200-foot elevation. These are some of the best things to see in the city.
If the city is as the world capital of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Temple Square acts as the focal point. In this three-block region, about 20 attractions relate to the church, including the Assembly Hall, done up in Gothic Style; the Church History Museum; and the Beehive House, once home Brigham Young. Research your ancestors at the Family History Library, the largest genealogical facility in the world. Free 45-minute guided tours are available or visit The Tabernacle for the weekly rehearsals and performances of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Great Salt Lake
The name of the capital comes from the Great Salt Lake, which stands out as the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi and the largest salt water lake in the Western Hemisphere. Rivers bring in dissolved amounts of salt, which have no place else to go because the lake has no outlet. The resulting salinity is so great that fish do not live in the lake. However, brine shrimp and brine flies do live in the lake. Stop by the visitors center so you can get more information about the lake before heading out for swimming or wildlife watching.
Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort
If you’re around for the winter, you need to head to Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort, which is located less than 30 miles from the city. You can enjoy up to 2,500 acres of winter activities such as skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. Take a free guided nature tour with a ranger or take the tram to the 11,000 foot summit Hidden Peak. In the summer, the resort offer fly-fishing, hiking, biking, or screaming down 3,120 feet of gravity-fed track on the Mountain Coaster.
Utah Museum of Fine Arts
Enjoy an eclectic collection of over 20,000 pieces from around the world and many different historical periods at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. Connect with ancient objects from Europe, Mesoamerica, and the Mediterranean; stroll through the latest African and Chinese galleries; and get in touch with modern and contemporary art. Highlights include Stroll Around the Maypole by Pieter Brueghel, a Jamas shield from New Guinea, an Imperial Vase from the Q’ing Dynasty of China, and Rex by Deborah Butterfield. The museum also offers guided and self-guided tours.
Commune with over 800 animals at the Hogle Zoo. Its 4-acre African Savanna exhibit opened in 2014 and includes grasslands full of ostriches, zebras, and giraffes watched over by African lions on Lions Hill. A Conservation Carousel, Splash Zone, and Zoofari Express train can keep the kids entertained when they get tired of walking. Included with your ticket are several programs that give you a chance to learn about the animals including a Wildlife Theater Bird Show, Sea Lion/Seal Training, and an Elephant Encounter Pachyderm Program.
Red Butte Garden
When you need a break from touring, visit the Red Butte Garden, which is located at the University of Utah campus. You can wander over 21 acres of display gardens or 5 miles of hiking trails. Among the collections are a Daffodil Display, an Ornamental Grass Collection, and about 150 distinct species of roses. Daily tram tours are complimentary. You can also check out Poetry Boxes that display poems to match the changing seasons.